How will you celebrate Garden Day?

We celebrate the country’s first ever Garden Day tomorrow (Sunday). Garden Day is intended to bring people together to celebrate one of life’s simplest, but most profound pleasures.

Summer means different things to different gardeners, but for all of us this warm and sunny season brings challenges such as dividing time and effort between keeping our gardens in good shape and enjoying them.

You can enjoy this day in your own back yard, in your neighbour’s garden, or even on a sheltered balcony. It doesn’t really matter how big or how small,your garden is, the important thing is to appreciate your very own version of a planted paradise and share it with friends and neighbours.

Here are some handy tips from the Bedding Plant Growers Association:

Impatiens known to many as “Busy Lizzies” are a vital ingredient to any summer garden. Few other plants offer such a mass of blooms for such a long period as these valiant little plants. There are lovely rich hues of reds and oranges for ‘hot’ beds, gentle pastels to relax the eye and a pure white hybrid to add a sense of coolness on those hot summer days.

Couple them with Dahlias and your garden will simply be bursting with colour.

Impatiens will perform beautifully all summer long, impressing all passers-by. They do very well in morning sun positions. Impatiens can be used extensively around patios and pool areas, along driveways and at entrances, in shady beds under trees or in borders shaded by wall, in-between shrubs and ground covers. Window boxes, containers and the ever-popular hanging baskets also make for excellent homes.

Like all seedlings, regular watering during the first two to three weeks is necessary. After the plants have established themselves, it is better to water thoroughly, but less frequently. Remember that when it rains, plants under trees do not always get the benefit of the water because the trees act like an umbrella. Impatiens grown in sunnier positions will need more frequent watering. Impatiens are carefree plants but in heavy shade or where the plants have been over-watered or overfed they can become leggy. Pinching back will encourage branching, a better bush shape and more flowers.

Dahlias should be planted in a sunny location (minimum six hours of sun) that is protected from wind. They like fertile, well-draining soil. Before planting, prepare the soil by adding compost or well-aged manure. Despite Dahlias requiring regular watering, it is very important that their roots do not sit in water logged soil.

Once planted, allow the plant to establish and when it displays three or four pairs of leaves, pinch the terminal shoot. This will encourage side branching which will produce a bushier, sturdier plant which in turn means more blooms. This plant benefits from regular, fortnightly feeding especially whilst flowering. Removing the old and dying blooms allows for more energy towards the production of new flowers.

Alstroemeria, (our October pot choice) is more commonly known as Inca or Peruvian Lily. They require very little maintenance, are seldom troubled by pests and are even relatively tolerant of frost which is great news in case we get a late cold snap passing over the country. Remember when potting them to choose a pot that allows for growth, as they don’t like their roots to be restricted.


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Charmaine Lourens

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